Earth Day serves as our annual reminder to reflect on what we can do to make sure we take care of our planet for our children and future generations. It's a time to slow down and appreciate the beauty and bounty of the Earth.
So let's celebrate our home planet! Earth Day falls on Saturday, April 22 this year. There are Earth Day events taking place across Memphis throughout the whole month of April. Get your kiddos involved in the fun by going on a nature walk scavenger hunt, making art or crafts with re-purposed items (toilet paper roll bird feeder, anyone?), or have a movie night with one of the many green-themed kid friendly movies. No matter how you choose to celebrate Mother Earth, here are few easy tips your whole family can do to make Earth Day, every day.
- Remember your re-usable bags! Every year Americans alone use 100 billion plastic shopping bags and it can take one plastic bag 500 years to degrade. 500 years y'all! I get it, we forget and leave them in the car (guilty). I started hanging them on the front door after I unloaded our groceries and it helped me remember take them back out to my car on my next trip outside. And Mamas, it's worth remembering your re-usable bags; some stores like Target and Whole Foods offer bag credits if you bring your own bag.
- Recycle! Most of us have recycling bins as part of our garbage collection service, so make sure to use them! The list of recyclables is much longer than I realized. In addition to the items we put in our recycling bins like metal, glass, and paper, there are also companies that you can recycle broken crayons, old bras, old VCR tapes, used water filters and even keys! You can even make a little pocket money by recycling old juice pouches or score a new lipstick when you trade in six empty MAC containers at a MAC counter! Stores like IKEA, Batteries Plus, and Whole Foods will sometimes have recycle areas in their stores that can take items you can't recycle in your bin at home. When we really started sorting our waste, we have been able to drastically reduce the amount of garbage we are throwing away and increase what we put in recycle.
- Start a compost pile/bin. When we lived in California, the recycle and green waste bins were larger than the trash bin. Remember that scene in Inside Out where the parents are discussing which garbage can color is what...it's scary accurate. My husband and I totally had that conversation. Or better yet, reduce your green/food waste completely by starting a compost pile. There are a ton of affordable countertop compost bins available online. You can use the compost to start an herb or veggie garden this summer or just use it to fertilize your existing plants or lawn. Either way, there's less waste in the landfill, and you're making plants happy.
- Try a CSA or visit your local Farmer's Market. There are so many benefits to shopping at your local farmers market, cheaper organic products, supporting local farmers and agriculture, and eating fresh and seasonally are just a few. Did you know when you buy fruits and veggies from your local Farmer's Market, you're also being friendly to our environment. Buying food that is locally grown requires less energy and fossil fuels to ship food across the country (or sometimes, the world). The Memphis Farmers Market is a great market to check out with your family. It's open every Saturday, through September 3o.
- Grab a Re-usable Beverage Container instead of plastic water bottle. Even though they are recyclable, there are way too many water bottles that end up in landfills or bodies of water. This is as good of a reason as any to head to your nearest store and pick up a re-usable and insulated water container. Yeti, Camelbak, whatever brand... it keeps your beverage cold way longer and is way cuter than a plastic bottle.